It is unfortunate that few people achieve optimal health or weight management.
Few people understand that food affects everything from sleep quality, anxiety, focus, happiness hormones, health and your immune system, gut health, inflammation, recovery and your emotional state and EQ (Emotional Intelligence). Like everything in life, success lies in the detail and dietitians can work with you to achieve your goals... everyone should be seeing a dietitian.
A dietitian is a Qualified Health Professional who has undergone a minimum of 4 years undergraduate scientific Dietetics degree or a 2-year postgraduate Nutrition and Dietetics degree.
They are then required to perform a year of community service working in the public healthcare system before they can be registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).
Dietitians are trained in all aspects of nutrition therapy.
They are qualified to understand and interpret the science behind food and nutrition, nutrition related to health and disease such as medical diseases or athletes as well as implement and manage nutrition services and programs.
Clinical Dietitians are able to address a wide variety of medical concerns with Obesity being a large focus, especially in South Africa where we have a large number of overweight and obese adults and children. Nutritional therapy is vital in the prevention and treatment of obesity, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease as well as many other disease such as cancer or IBS.
Dietitians provide therapy for the following conditions:
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- HIV / AIDS,
- TB and throat,
- Stomach and intestinal disorders such as IBS, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, constipation, flatulence and diarrhoea.
- Food allergies and intolerances as well as eating disorders
- Sports nutrition
- Stages during a person’s lifecycle i.e. pregnancy, infancy, childhood, adulthood right through to old age.
So what sort of things do Dietitians do all day?
- Educate and empower patients on food and nutrition
- Help guide patients on how to lose excess weight safely
- Help to guide malnourished patients on how to gain weight appropriately
- Help manage diseases such as reducing cholesterol levels and insulin levels
- Help to rectify nutrient deficiencies in patients
- Help patients gain or lose excess weight before surgery
- Feed patients via nasogastric tubes or central lines when they are unable to eat themselves.
- Prescribe feeds for patients who are unable to chew, swallow or require a liquid diet.
- Help in the recovery of patients who have undergone any type of surgery
- Help women with fertility problems to fall pregnant
- Help pregnant women to manage and ensure a healthy pregnancy & delivery
- Help mothers to breastfeed and wean their children onto solid food
- Help children to grow at an optimal rate
- Involved in the treatment and rehabilitation of patients with eating disorders
- Help in the management of allergies and intolerances
- Help athletes to perform at their best
- Analyse recipes and menus to ensure the balance of macronutrients
- Consult for food and pharmaceutical companies
- Write articles or information posts for the media
Being a dietitian is not always about telling patients to eat their greens. A day in the life of a dietitian can take all different shapes and forms, and it can sometimes surprise people to learn just how life-saving nutrition intervention can be. Many people are often unaware of the complexities of our role and the areas in which we’re involved, as it is assumed that we only deal with weight loss or weight gain, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Here is an additional list of areas that Dietitians specialise in:
- Adolescent Nutrition
- Allergies And Intolerances
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Childhood Nutrition
- Childhood Obesity
- Chronic Illness Management
- Community Participation And Engagement
- Conduct Research
- Corporate Wellness
- Critical Care
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Diabetes Type 1 & 2 Management
- Dyslipidaemia Management (Ldl & Hdl Cholesterol Management)
- Eating Disorders
- Food Label Regulations
- Food Science And Technology
- Food Services Management
- Gastroenterology (Incl Ibs And Low Fodmap Diet Certification)
- Genetic Disorders
- Genetic Testing + Consulting (DNA)
- Genetic Testing (Epigenetic Consulting)
- Gut Disorders (Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis)
- Gut Health Testing And Consulting
- Gut Health Management
- Health Policies And Systems
- Heart Health (e.g. Cholesterol, Atherosclerosis, Heart Attacks, Stroke)
- Hypertension Management
- IBS Management
- Infant And Young Child Nutrition
- Insulin Resistance Management
- Integrative And Functional Medicine
- Kidney Disease
- LCHF - High Fat or Fat Adaption Diets
- Liver Disease
- Meal Plan Development
- Media Articles & Blog Posts
- Media Liason
- Neurological Conditions
- Non-Profit Organisations
- Nutritional Deficiency Management
- Oncology Nutrition
- Overweight And Obesity
- PCOS Management
- Pharmaceutical Consulting
- Plant-Based Nutrition
- Pre And Post Natal Health (Includes Pcos, Pregnancy And Fertility)
- Pre And Post Surgery Nutrition
- Preconception Nutrition
- Pregnancy Nutrition
- Product Development
- Public Health And Administration
- Recipe Development
- Renal Disease
- Specialist Disease Management
- Sports & Performance Nutrition
- Sustainable Diets
- Weight Loss